Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Wednesday that he will meet the organizers of the anti-nuclear rallies that have been held nearly every week outside his Tokyo office building. The protests have been growing in size since the prime minister decided a little over a month ago to restart the first nuclear reactors since the Fukushima disaster, with one of the most recent drawing over 170,000 people. A scheduled date for the meeting hasn’t been set, but Noda said that he will try to make it happen next week.
Members from the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes asked former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who himself has begun petitioning for Japan’s abandonment of nuclear power, to speak to Noda on their behalf and ask for a meeting. The prime minister has been resistant to meeting with anti-nuclear groups prior to this, but has seemingly changed his mind after last week’s protest, which saw a human chain formed around the parliament building during the day, and lighting candles as darkness fell.
Prime Minister Noda has said that he will listen to what the activist organizers have to say, but it is assumed that he will also explain his side of things, including the government’s stance of the restart of the two nuclear reactors in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, as well as the safety measures that have been taken. While it certainly won’t result in a convincing of Noda to drop all use of nuclear power, hopefully it will lead to a better understanding among government leaders that a very large portion of the Japanese people are unhappy and not in support of their recent actions.